Middleton sends Bucks past Suns to tie NBA Finals at 2-2

Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks draws the foul against Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns during Game Four of the NBA Finals on July 14, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP)
Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks draws the foul against Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns during Game Four of the NBA Finals on July 14, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP)
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Updated 15 July 2021

Middleton sends Bucks past Suns to tie NBA Finals at 2-2

Middleton sends Bucks past Suns to tie NBA Finals at 2-2
  • Former Bucks players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson watched as the Bucks defeated the Suns
  • Abdul-Jabbar, then named Lew Alcindor, led the Bucks win their only NBA title in 1971

MILWAUKEE, US: Khris Middleton’s big finish means these NBA Finals are just getting started.
Middleton scored 40 points, including 10 straight for the Milwaukee Bucks down the stretch to send them past the Phoenix Suns, 109-103 on Wednesday night to tie the series 2-2.
Middleton’s hot hand and a big block from Giannis Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks their second straight victory in the first close game of the series.
Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. His streak of 40-point games ended at two but the only number that matters for the Bucks is on the series scoreboard.
Devin Booker scored 42 points for the Suns, but his foul trouble cost them a chance to build a big lead in the second half. Chris Paul struggled through a 5-for-13 night, finishing with 10 points and five turnovers.
Game 5 is Saturday night in Phoenix.
Middleton is an All-Star with unwavering confidence in his shot, always believing that matter how poorly he starts that he can turn things around.
He may have turned around the course of these NBA Finals.
Phoenix led by two with 2 1/2 minutes left before Middleton made the next two baskets to give Milwaukee a 101-99 edge with 1:28 to play. It appeared the Suns would tie it with a lob pass to center Deandre Ayton but Antetokounmpo swooped in to block it, flexing his muscles to the crowd behind the basket as the Bucks broke the other way on the fast break.
Middleton missed a couple of jumpers but Paul lost the ball after the second one when he slipped and fell down while dribbling. That sent Middleton off for a layup and he followed with four free throws to make it 107-101.
Brook Lopez had 14 points for the Bucks and Jrue Holiday added 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. He shot only 4 for 20, but his defense helped knock Paul off his game.
Before Middleton’s run, it appeared it was going to be Booker’s night. He bounced back in a big way from a 3-for-14 night in Game 3 with his third 40-point game of this postseason.
But he had to spend portions of the third and fourth quarters on the bench after picking up fouls and his teammates couldn’t handle things without him.
With the leaders of their only title team in the arena, the Bucks improved to 9-1 at home in the playoffs. They are trying to overcome a 2-0 deficit for the second time in this postseason.
The Suns never got more than two wins in their two previous trips to the NBA Finals but it seemed they were finally headed there Wednesday. Booker had a big finish to the third quarter to send them to the fourth leading 82-76, but he picked up his fifth foul barely a minute into the period and sat for about five minutes.
The Bucks trimmed only three points off the lead before he returned midway through the fourth, but Middleton made sure they surged ahead when it mattered.
Antetokounmpo had dominated the previous game with his offense, but the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year made his biggest mark on this game on the other end of the floor.
Perhaps sensing the pressure, both teams fumbled the ball around in the early going, diving on the floor in desperate attempts to save it. The Bucks turned what looked like lost possessions into baskets that way in the first quarter, giving them a boost while their outside shooting was off.
The Bucks, who had a big second quarter in Game 3, had another nice stretch midway through this one with an 8-0 run. That gave them a four-point lead and the margin stayed right around there, with the teams trading the lead, until Middleton’s 3-pointer made it 52-all at the break.

TIP-INS
Suns: Booker has 542 points, most ever for a player in his first postseason. Rick Barry scored 521 in 1967. ... Jae Crowder scored 15 points.
Bucks: Milwaukee shot just 7 for 29 (24 percent) from 3-point range. ... Pat Connaughton had 11 points and nine rebounds.

BEST OF THE BUCKS
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson sat next to each other and were given a loud ovation when shown during the first half. Bob Dandridge and Jon McGlocklin were the other members of the Bucks’ only NBA championship team who were at the game.

 


 


Bromell, Thompson-Herah bag 100-meter wins at Prefontaine Classic

Bromell, Thompson-Herah bag 100-meter wins at Prefontaine Classic
Updated 28 sec ago

Bromell, Thompson-Herah bag 100-meter wins at Prefontaine Classic

Bromell, Thompson-Herah bag 100-meter wins at Prefontaine Classic
  • Despite intermittent rain, the day included a host of world-leading performances, starting with Brazilan Alison dos Santos’s 400m hurdles victory in 47.23
  • Dos Santos' win shaved one-hundredth of a second off the world leading mark he posted in winning at the Doha Diamond League meet

EUGENE, Oregon: Trayvon Bromell and Elaine Thompson-Herah grabbed 100m Wanda Diamond League Prefontaine Classic victories Saturday in Eugene, where eight world-leading performances highlighted the action at Hayward Field.

America’s Bromell, the fastest man in the world last year, bounced back from a false start disqualification in Birmingham last weekend to win a star-studded men’s 100m in 9.93sec.

Jamaica’s Thompson-Herah, who won back-to-back Olympic 100m-200m doubles in 2016 and last year, captured the women’s 100m in 10.79.

Neither was a world best for 2022, but Thompson-Herah said she was just pleased to hit the line first and healthy on a rainy day in Eugene at the same venue that will host the athletics World Championships on July 15-24.

“I’m excited I crossed the line healthy,” Thompson-Herah said. “I don’t care about the time. The rain was falling. It was a little cold.

“It shows I’m on a great path,” added the Jamaican star, who pulled out of the Birmingham Diamond League meeting with a shoulder injury, testing herself in a lower-level meeting in Kingston last Saturday instead.

“I’m getting into shape,” added the Jamaican, who said on Friday that her training had also been disrupted by a nagging Achilles injury. “I’m getting where I need to be.”

Thompson-Herah made a smooth start on the damp track and took control at the 50m mark. Rising US star Sha’Carri Richardson won a close battle for second place ahead of Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, both credited with a time of 10.92.

Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica celebrates after winning the women's 1,500m at the Wanda Diamond League Prefontaine Classic. (AFP]

Richardson, 22, shot to prominence last season at the US Olympic trials with a wind-aided 10.64 in the final. But she missed the Tokyo Games after a positive test for marijuana.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce made it a women’s sprint double for Jamaica with a victory in the 200m in 22.41.

Bromell, who clocked a wind-aided 9.75 in Florida earlier this month, said his race left plenty of room for improvement as he looks toward the US World Championship trials in Eugene next month and the Worlds themselves.

“I was happy to come out with a win, but I felt like there was a lot of technical stuff I messed up on,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’m already getting messages from my coach.”

Compatriot Fred Kerley, silver medallist at the Tokyo Olympics last year, was second in 9.98 and reigning world champion Christian Coleman, still working his way back after an 18-month suspension for violating doping whereabouts rules, completed a US podium sweep in 10.04.

“It went pretty well, just considering the elements and where I’m at in the season,” Coleman said.

Despite intermittent rain, the day included a host of world-leading performances, starting with Brazilan Alison dos Santos’s 400m hurdles victory in 47.23, which shaved one-hundredth of a second off the world leading mark he posted in winning at the Doha Diamond League meet.

The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist said it was “amazing” to get a chance to test the World Championships venue.

“It’s so nice, because you can feel the energy, you can feel the track, you can feel everything before the championships.”

American Michael Norman shattered a 22-year-old meet record set by Michael Johnson with his 400m triumph in 43.60.

Norman’s fastest performance in more than a year was the best in the world in 2022 and carried him to victory over Grenada’s 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James (44.02) and Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith (44.35).

Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson backed up her victory in Birmingham with a gritty win in the women’s 800m in a world-leading 1:57.72.

Kazakhstan’s Norah Jeruto won the women’s 3,000m steeplechase in a world-leading 8:57.97. Winfred Mutile Yavi of Bahrain became just the seventh woman to break nine minutes in the event with her second-place finish in 8:58.71.

World record-holder Ryan Crouser won the shot put with a season’s best 23.02 ahead of compatriot Joe Kovacs (22.49) and New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh (21.96).

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Faith Kipyegon of Kenya won the women’s 1,500m in 3:52.59, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen won the men’s mile in 3:49.76 and Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi won the men’s 5,000m in 12:50.05.

Aregawi’s victory improved on the world leading time of 12:57.99 set by Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Joshua Cheptegei on Friday night in a separate 5,000m race billed as a world record attempt by the Ugandan.


Swiatek racks up 31st straight win as French Open gets Nordic twist

Swiatek racks up 31st straight win as French Open gets Nordic twist
Updated 29 May 2022

Swiatek racks up 31st straight win as French Open gets Nordic twist

Swiatek racks up 31st straight win as French Open gets Nordic twist
  • Swiatek’s winning streak is the best since Serena Williams’s 34 successive victories in 2013

PARIS: World No. 1 Iga Swiatek was the only top 10 women’s seed left standing at the French Open on Saturday as Casper Ruud and Holger Rune gave Roland Garros a rare Nordic twist with landmark performances.

Swiatek, the 2020 champion, dropped serve three times against 95th-ranked Danka Kovinic of Montenegro before sealing a 6-3, 7-5 third round victory, her 31st successive win.

“I wanted to play really aggressively but sometimes I felt I was hitting with too much power and it was hard to control,” said the 20-year-old Pole.

Swiatek’s winning streak is the best since Serena Williams’s 34 successive victories in 2013.

She next faces Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen who made the last 16 on her debut when French veteran Alize Cornet, playing in her 61st consecutive Grand Slam, retired with a leg injury, trailing 6-0, 3-0.

Having stunned 2018 champion Simona Halep in the second round, Zheng becomes only the fourth Chinese woman to make the fourth round in Paris where compatriot Li Na captured her landmark Slam title in 2011.

“I always knew I had the level to do well, now I just want to keep going,” said the 19-year-old Zheng, ranked at 74.

Cornet, the last Frenchwoman in the draw, was booed off by the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd.

“It hurt more than my injury,” she said.

Spain’s Paula Badosa, who made the quarterfinals in 2021, retired due to a calf injury when she was trailing Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 2-1.

Aryna Sabalenka, the seventh seed, slipped to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 defeat against Italy’s Camila Giorgi.

The exits of Badosa and Sabalenka meant that for the first time in the Open era only one top 10 seed has survived to the fourth round.

In stark contrast, nine of the top 10 men’s seeds have made the second week.

Eighth-seeded Casper Ruud became the first Norwegian man to reach the last 16 with a 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego.

Ruud hit 39 winners and goes on to face Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, a Wimbledon semifinalist last year who is also in the last 16 in Paris for the first time.

Meanwhile, Holger Rune became the first Danish man in the Roland Garros fourth round since 1959 when he knocked out France’s last man, Hugo Gaston.

Rune, 19, and ranked at 40, breezed to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win and next faces 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The last Danish man to make a Slam fourth round was Kenneth Carlsen at the 1993 Australian Open.

Fourth seed Tsitsipas needed just 92 minutes to clinch a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win over 95th-ranked Mikael Ymer.

The Greek star had to come back from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti and then needed four hours and four sets to see off 134th-ranked qualifier Zdenek Kolar in his first two outings.

However, the 23-year-old was never troubled on Saturday, breaking his Swedish opponent six times.

“It was different from my first two matches. The conditions were warmer and drier, which suited me better,” said Tsitsipas after a season-leading 34th win.

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev eased through by defeating Serbian 28th seed Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

Medvedev has not dropped a set in three rounds and will next play former US Open champion Marin Cilic who ended 37-year-old Gilles Simon’s 17-year-old Roland Garros career with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 win.

Medvedev fell in the opening round on his first four trips to Paris before reaching the quarterfinals a year ago.

“It was really hard, everyone was asking how I could be number two in the world without getting past the first round,” said the US Open champion who has never won a clay title.

Mackenzie McDonald, the 60th-ranked American, lost to Italian 11th seed Jannik Sinner after managing to squander 11 set points in the second set.

Sinner, a quarterfinalist in 2020, triumphed 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 and will face seventh-seeded Andrey Rublev for a last-eight spot.

Rublev, also a quarterfinalist two years ago, defeated Chile’s Cristian Garin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (13/11).


Real Madrid beats Liverpool 1-0 for 14th European Cup title

Real Madrid beats Liverpool 1-0 for 14th European Cup title
Updated 29 May 2022

Real Madrid beats Liverpool 1-0 for 14th European Cup title

Real Madrid beats Liverpool 1-0 for 14th European Cup title
  • Brazil winger Vinícius Júnior applied a close-range finish in the 59th minute from Federico Valverde’s drive across the face of goal
  • Game started 37 minutes late because of disturbing crowd issues outside the Stade de France

PARIS: Real Madrid became European champion for a record-extending 14th time after beating Liverpool 1-0 in a Champions League final that started 37 minutes late because of disturbing crowd issues outside the Stade de France on Saturday.
Brazil winger Vinícius Júnior applied a close-range finish in the 59th minute from Federico Valverde’s drive across the face of goal, securing a win that gave Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti a record fourth European Cup title.
While Madrid completed a Champions League-La Liga double, Liverpool finished a season that promised so much — a week ago, it was in contention for an unprecedented quadruple of major trophies — with just the two domestic cups in England.

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior (L) scores the opening goal past Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the Champions League final match on May 28, 2022. (AFP)

The English team couldn’t find a way past Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who tipped Sadio Mane’s first-half shot onto the post and produced an even better save to turn away Mohamed Salah’s effort in the 81st.
“Today nobody was going to get in my way,” Courtois said. “I was going to win a Champions League no matter what.”
Vinicius sank to his knees and covered his face at fulltime. Many of his teammates sprinted the length of the field to celebrate in front of Madrid’s fans at one end of the stadium.

Real Madrid's Marcelo celebrates with teammates after winning the Champions League title on Saturday in Paris. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

Marcelo, Madrid’s serial winner of trophies who didn’t even play a minute of the final, was given the honor of lifting the trophy to a backdrop of fireworks and tickertape.
Madrid underlined its status as the king of European soccer, given the Spanish giant owns double the number of European Cups as the No. 2 on the list, AC Milan.
And this time, there was no need for the kind of stirring comeback that the Spanish giant had to produce in getting past Paris Saint-Germain, defending champion Chelsea and Manchester City in the knockout stage.
It might go down as the most grueling run to the title in the long history of the competition.

Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez holds a child after their Champions League final soccer match with Liverpool on May 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) 

For many, especially Liverpool fans, pre-match crowd issues overshadowed this final, though, and are sure to be the focus of an investigation by UEFA and authorities in the coming days.
Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray at supporters waiting in long lines to get into European soccer’s showpiece game, whose kickoff was delayed.
UEFA blamed the chaos on people trying to get into the stadium without legitimate tickets, without providing details on where they could be from.
“In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands of fans who purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles,” UEFA said in a statement.
Some fans climbed fences surround the stadium to get in. Others barged their way past security and sprinted onto the concourse before getting wrestled to the ground.

Fans climb the fence of the Stade de France before the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid on May 28, 2022. (AFP)

Riot police with batons and riot shields ran from gate to gate to prevent pockets of fans forcing their way into the stadium.
“I’ve got really bad asthma and I’ve been tear gassed twice,” Liverpool fan Angela Murphy told The Associated Press through a fence. “I’m really struggling.”
About 15 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of 9 p.m. local time, an announcement was made that there would be a delay. It was greeted by jeers inside the stadium.
The scenes were reminiscent of the chaos outside Wembley Stadium before the European Championship final last year between England and Italy.


Champions League final kicks off late after crowd issues

A fan is held by a police officer and a steward inside the stadium by the turnstiles as the match is delayed. (Reuters)
A fan is held by a police officer and a steward inside the stadium by the turnstiles as the match is delayed. (Reuters)
Updated 29 May 2022

Champions League final kicks off late after crowd issues

A fan is held by a police officer and a steward inside the stadium by the turnstiles as the match is delayed. (Reuters)
  • Angry Liverpool fans held in the lines were seen hanging onto railings and heard shouting: “Let us in. We’ve got tickets”
  • There were many instances of fans breaking through security and attempting to get into the stadium

PARIS: Police deployed tear gas on supporters waiting in long lines to get into the Stade de France and security struggled with fans desperate to see the Champions League final that was delayed by 37 minutes on Saturday.

Media reports said the process of organizing the fans’ entry was disrupted due to fake tickets that were alleged to have been sold through pirated online portals.

European football governing body UEFA then blamed “fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles” for a delay.
UEFA said French police had fired tear gas to disperse thousands of frustrated fans who were building up outside the Stade de France as a result of the fake tickets issue.
But English giants Liverpool said they were “hugely disappointed” that their supporters had been subjected to an “unacceptable” breakdown of the security perimeter at France’s national stadium.

Angry Liverpool fans held in the lines were seen hanging onto railings and heard shouting: “Let us in. We’ve got tickets.”
There were many instances of fans breaking through security and attempting to get into the stadium. The Associated Press saw two fans — one was wearing Liverpool attire — wrestled to the ground by stewards and bundled out of the gates.
Three more fans were seen evading stewards and sprinting through the concourse and into the bottom level of the stadium. Others climbed the fences instead.
Supporter Colm Lacey saw “children crying, people trapped” outside the entrances.
“People started jumping the queue, then they ripped the gate open and then there was a push,” Lacey said.
Police officers with batons and riot shields ran from gate to gate to prevent pockets of fans forcing their way into the stadium without showing tickets. One policeman collapsed to the ground and had to be helped by other officers. Officers used tear gas on Liverpool fans on repeated occasions.

Correspondents from the BeIN sports channel reported acts of hooliganism outside the stadium.
One Liverpool fan kissed his ticket and looked to the sky after finally getting through security.
The scenes were reminiscent of the chaos outside Wembley Stadium before the European Championship final last year between England and Italy.
There were long lines of Liverpool fans still outside the stadium when there was 40 minutes to kickoff.
Then, about 15 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT), an announcement was made that there would be a delay, blaming the late arrival of fans to the stadium. It was greeted by jeers inside the stadium, given those fans had already endured long queues.
The game eventually started at 9.37 p.m. local time.

(With AP and AFP)

 


Chelsea takeover imminent after final agreement reached

Chelsea takeover imminent after final agreement reached
Updated 28 May 2022

Chelsea takeover imminent after final agreement reached

Chelsea takeover imminent after final agreement reached
  • The club said Saturday that “a final and definitive agreement was entered into last night” to sell to the Boehly and Clearlake Capital consortium
  • The price is 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) — the highest ever for a sports team

LONDON: The sale of Premier League club Chelsea is expected to be completed Monday after a “final and definitive” agreement was reached with the consortium fronted by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly.
The club said Saturday that “a final and definitive agreement was entered into last night” to sell to the Boehly and Clearlake Capital consortium. The price is 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) — the highest ever for a sports team.
“It is expected that the transaction will be completed on Monday,” the club said.
The announcement followed a series of approvals allowing Roman Abramovich to sell after he was sanctioned over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich has owned the club for 19 years.
The British government, which had sanctioned Abramovich, approved the sale this week after ensuring that the Russian oligarch could not profit from it. The Premier League had earlier given its approval.
Chelsea have been operating under a government license since Abramovich’s assets were frozen in March and it expires Tuesday.
“It has been an honor of a lifetime to be a part of this club,” Abramovich said in a statement posted on Chelsea’s website.
“My goal has been to ensure that the next owner has a mindset that will enable success for the men’s and women’s team, as well as the will and drive to continue developing other key aspects of the club, such as the academy and the vital work of Chelsea Foundation,” he added.
The men’s team have won 21 trophies during Abramovich’s ownership. Chelsea fans have become accustomed to lavish spending under Abramovich, with more than $1 billion net spending on players.
Boehly’s group was chosen earlier this month after pledging to invest 1.75 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) in the teams and infrastructure.
The consortium also features Dodgers principal owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, and funding from private equity firm Clearlake.
“I am pleased this search has now come to a successful conclusion,” Abramovich said. “As I hand over Chelsea to its new custodians, I would like to wish them the best of success, both on and off the pitch.”